Qantas puts A380 superjumbo on world’s longest flight

The world’s largest passenger aircraft is now flying the world’s longest route after Qantas replaced its Boeing 747s with Airbus A380 superjumbos on the Sydney-Dallas route.

The flight covers a whopping 13,800 kilometres and takes a little more than 15 hours.

The Qantas Sydney-Dallas route became the longest non-stop flight in the world late last year after Singapore Airlines ended its non-stop flights from Singapore to New York, a 19-hour slog that covered 16,700 kilometres on a four-engine Airbus A340-500. The flights, which were business class only, had struggled to maintain profitability because of rising oil prices.

The new A380 service will operate six flights per week between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney (every day except Tuesdays), increasing the number of seats on the route by 10 per cent. The longer range of the A380 means that the return flight, which previously had to fly via Brisbane, will now fly direct to Sydney from Dallas.

“Not only will the A380 increase seats on the route by more than 10 per cent each week, it will also provide us with greater fuel efficiency and the range to operate the return service direct back to Sydney,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

Qantas recently announced increased services to the US, and now offers 41 services per week to North America. About half of these services are operated by A380 aircraft.

The first A380 flight to Dallas departs from Sydney airport at 1.10pm on Monday.

The longest A380 flight by time in the air is run by Emirates, which flies superjumbos direct from Dubai to Los Angeles in a 16-hour, 20-minute haul that covers 13,420 kilometres.

Qantas began flying to Dallas in 2011, in a moved aimed at providing better connections to the rest of the US via its domestic partner American Airlines, which is based in Dallas/Fort Worth.

The launch was not without some teething problems as the distance pushed the range of the 747-400ER to its limit. On one occasion some passengers’ luggage had to be offloaded to reduce the weight of the plane due to an increase in headwinds and one flight was forced to land in New Caledonia to refuel, again due to strong headwinds.

Joyce said similar problems were not expected with the A380.

“This aircraft is a longer-range aircraft so it is a better payload range than the 747s which were operating on the route previously,” he said. “We believe that over the last four years we have experienced a lot of information, a lot of knowledge on how to operate these long sectors. And we believe this aircraft will operate very successfully on this route.”

Joyce admitted some times of the year the flights would have a restriction on the number of passengers the A380 could carry on the route.

“There are restrictions at certain times of the year when the headwinds have been very strong, like on the 747.”

– with Jamie Freed

 

Source : The Traveller

Qantas flies into yet more trouble

May 14, 2014

Elizabeth Knight

Business columnist

This week possibly hundreds of Qantas pilots will be offered redundancy packages as the airline moves to achieve its goal of reducing staff by 1200 by the end of June and a targeted 5000 cull of employees within three years.

The financial trouble enveloping Qantas has resulted in a major downsizing of the company which has included dropping routes and retiring planes as part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting a swath through its cost base.

Meanwhile a document leaked to Fairfax Media’s 3AW this week concerning Qantas’ financial predicament suggests that the company is concerned it could be facing a further downgrade on its already junk-rated debt. Additionally the document suggests the sale of part or all of its Frequent Flyer loyalty program has moved up on the airline’s agenda.

The memo, titled ”liquidity challenge”, details how the airline may be forced to sell Frequent Flyers and how to maximise the proceeds and ”how much longer can we defer it”.

It also mentions that a further ratings downgrade could lead to funding being further rationed.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said as recently as last week that asset sales including its loyalty scheme were being considered as part of a program to reduce debt.

Qantas claims it does not believe the document to be internal but it doesn’t rule out the possibility and it is not suggesting the document is a fraud. Rather it appears to be a memo of a meeting with potentially outside advisers.

The author of the memo notes that within Qantas there are a ”jigsaw puzzle of issues” and ponders ”when will management reach a tipping point”.

The memo suggests the company’s burden of debt is too great, which is certainly in keeping with the consensus view of the financial analysts from investment banks that closely follow the company.

Joyce has announced already that he wants to knock $2 billion off the net debt levels which stood at around $3.2 billion at June 2013.

It is understood that pilots will be offered one year’s pay in return for taking the redundancy deal. However, it is not clear how many will be happy to take the offer.

There are many pilots on Qantas’ books who have more than 20 years in the job and probably won’t be satisfied with such a deal.

Qantas would presumably need to move to compulsory redundancies to achieve its targets.

Its highly regarded pilots are among Qantas’ most valuable assets, given the degree of 

training

 that has been invested in them. They have clearly contributed to its stellar safety record. But the reality is that in retiring many planes there is a surplus of pilots.

Qantas has been managing excess pilots to date by asking them to whittle down their leave and long service entitlements or take leave without pay. But this has been delaying their stay of execution.

Reducing pilot numbers is an unfortunate consequence of losing market share as a result of being unable to compete with foreign carriers and, plenty would argue, the mistakes of management.

Qantas reported a loss of $250 million for the half to December and could easily match this number in the current six months to June.

It has had its debt credit rating downgraded and only this week raised $300 million in relatively expensive junk bonds to replace some debt that was due for earlier repayment.

While Qantas denies it has a liquidity problem, the reality is that the redundancy costs are an expensive drain on cash and this may curtail its ability to offer redundancy to all the excess pilots initially.

In response to the leaked document, Qantas responded on Tuesday, ”the concept of a liquidity challenge” seems to ignore the $2.4 billion Qantas has in the bank, not to mention a large number of unencumbered assets (ranging from airport terminals to aircraft).

”We have an obligation to keep the market up to date with our position, and we did that as recently as last Thursday.

”No decision has been made on Frequent Flyer, so any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong.”

A recent March investment note from JPMorgan which analysed Qantas’ high cost base sums the situation up.

It notes that ”when the trading environment is robust with passenger revenue yield growth and strong load factors, the cost structure within QAN could be addressed ‘later’ but in the current environment with excess seat capacity both domestically and on its key international routes and yields under pressure, the uncompetitive cost structure of QAN really becomes apparent and a focus.

”Until QAN is able to tackle its costs, it is likely to find it increasingly difficult to achieve satisfactory returns.”

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

A pit stop with the A380 Airbus, the largest airliner in the world

July 3, 2013

Matt Buchanan and Tony Walters

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s a full-blown eclipse?

No. It’s a whopping great A380 Airbus, the world’s largest passenger airliner. Capable of carrying between 500 and 800 people, depending on the class configuration, it has a range of over 15,500 kilometres, and a wingspan that would take Usain Bolt about (reaches for calculator) … 7.704 seconds to sprint the 80 metres from one tip to the other.

All of which spells BIG. So very big that you might well ask: how do they stay up?

Well, if there’s one thing that keeps these extraordinary aircraft in business – apart from, that is, the elegance of the Bernoulli Principle (the science of airflow over the wings, that lifts all planes into the air), and the general prosperity of the middle classes – it’s the four stonking great engines, Rolls Royce Trent 900s, each one the size of a modest family caravan, and with doubtless every bit as much going on inside.

“The engines are designed to be rotated, they get changed out every five years,” says Alan Milne, Head of Engineering, Qantas International, who spoke to Fairfax Media during one of the A380’s overnight maintenance checks.

“We pull them off, send them in for an overhaul, and to improve the reliability of they aircraft engine as well. We even wash the inside of the engines, and that gives the best fuel return.” Naturally enough for such a vital part of plane, the engines must be protected. Milne says the engines’ (very expensive) titanium fan blades “don’t like any sort of damage” and that any impact with, for instance, a wayward Pelican would be “catastrophic”.

Reassuringly, however, Milne means catastrophic for the engine, not the plane, or its passengers.

“It’s a four engine aircraft, but it’s designed to fly on two. If they lose one on take-off, the aeroplane doesn’t notice it from a performance [perspective].”

The engines aren’t the only parts of the A380 which get a thorough rinsing: everything is splashed, sprayed and buffed. And not only to look pretty.

Milne says the exterior of the plane must be as clean as possible to reduce drag, and, as with the engines, create greater fuel efficiency.

“Remember there are a lot of ports we fly to where there’s some pretty polluted areas, desert areas. But once they’re at cruising altitude, they’re through [because] there’s no bugs or birds up there.”

For all the necessary complicatedness in getting 650-odd tonnes up in the air and onto its hemisphere-straddling “bus” route, Milne (perhaps typically for an engineer) relishes the fundamentals.

“I think the best bit of engineering on the aeroplane is probably the simplest – the simpler the better.” He points to a rubber tip inside the engine. “When the engine is turning in flight the water builds and it starts to ice up. And, as the ice builds on the rubber, it starts to spin eccentrically, and cracks the ice off and it flows through the engine with no damage. And then it starts to build up again, and cracks off. Absolutely no input is required. It’s just the best bit of engineering around. So simple, so cheap, and so effective.”

For us, however, there is one other simple and effective component of the aircraft that might compete with the “icer”. The big painted spirals that are visible at the centre of each engine.

“Supposedly, at low-speed on approach, when the engines are on idle (because they don’t want to be developing create thrust, because they’re landing) they look like big bird’s eyes to other birds. So if they’re flying towards it they see a bigger bird flying toward them, and they go ‘Woah!’ and turn away. We will do anything to turn birds away from our aeroplanes,” says Milne.

So, there it is. The A380. A bird and a plane after all.

Canberra Times

James Akel comenta acúmulo de funções em torno de uma pessoa na REDE TV!

The Airbus A380 flyover is believed to be the first of its kind between two separate airlines.

Nesta semana a RedeTV divulgou que seu diretor de programação, Chiquinho Almeida, aliás um cara muito simpático, iria acumular as funções de coordenar o departamento de pesquisa e a assessoria de imprensa.
Causa espécie esta decisão do comando da RedeTV, no caso Amilcare Dallevo, de deixar sob responsabilidade de Chiquinho tais funções.
Pesquisa sempre esteve em qualquer emissora ou empresa de porte, anexada ao marketing.
Então quero crer que não exista o departamento de marketing na RedeTV.
Mas mesmo que não haja, Chiquinho não tem experiência nisto pelo seu currículo.
Mais uma vez Amilcare Dallevo contrata e entrega funções para alguém que não tem experiência no assunto.
Vamos adiante no caso.
Quanto à assessoria de imprensa, em qualquer lugar do mundo ela está abaixo da diretoria de comunicação.
M as não existe mais a diretoria de comunicação desde a saída do competente e experiente Caetano Bedaque.
Então estão jogando nas costas de Chiquinho algo que ele não tem conhecimento por não ter atuado nisto antes.
Lembremos que Amilcare Dallevo, dono da RedeTV, contratou anteriormente um vice de jornalismo que jamais tinha trabalhado em televisão.
E o resultado é um ibope pífio.
Agora joga na responsabilidade do diretor de programação setores que ele desconhece.
A gente já sabe no que vai dar.

 

James Akel no dia 01/04/2013